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Taiwan People's Party chairman talks national defense with high-level US officials

Ko Wen-je discusses cross-strait relations, arms sales, compulsory military service at AIT meeting

Taiwan People's Party Chairman Ko Wen-je outside AIT headquarters.

Taiwan People's Party Chairman Ko Wen-je outside AIT headquarters. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan People's Party (TPP) Chairman Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) on Wednesday (April 19) made a second visit to the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) in Washington, D.C., where he met with U.S. officials.

Ko held an hour-long meeting with high-level officials from the U.S. National Security Council, CNA reported. Ko had already met with AIT Chairman Laura Rosenberger on April 13.

The TPP chairman said the meeting was “very informative” and mainly focused on Taiwan’s national defense, cross-strait relations, and deep exchanges on topics including arms purchases and compulsory military service.

Ko said he told American officials that Taiwan will continue strengthening its national defense and insisted the U.S. should assist Taiwan in joining regional economic organizations. He also said that Taiwan should take care of its economy before dealing with its national defense, per CNA.

Ko said that Taiwan’s relations with both China and the U.S. should be based on the principle of ‘no surprises,’ open communication, and no unilateral changes to the status quo.

Ko went to D.C. again on Wednesday afternoon to meet with U.S. Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, a co-chair of the House Taiwan Caucus. He thanked Diaz-Balart and the caucus for their long-term support for Taiwan.

Ko is currently on a three-week trip in the U.S. promoting "Free Taiwan and Dialogue.” He is expected to run for president as the TPP’s primary candidate in 2024.